New, Cheaper IVF With Twice the Success Rate? Yippee!

I know there’s no such thing as a miracle drug, but a new version of In Vitro Fertilization—dubbed the mini-IVF—sure sounds like a miracle procedure! It’s half the price of the usual IVF, with fewer doses required, and far less side effects. How cool is that?!

This new method of getting pregnant consists of a daily low-dose pill of the fertility drug Clomid—which helps kick-start egg production—for 10 to 12 days. During this time, ultrasounds are required every few days to check whether the eggs are developing healthily. Around 10 days later, once the eggs are large enough, they are removed with a 5-minute operation that is so minor it doesn’t even require general anesthesia.

According to a trial involving 520 women, which was showcased at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine conference in Boston, success rates in women over 35 were a third higher compared with those undergoing conventional IVF, and women in their 40s were twice as likely to have a baby compared to if they had used the standard IVF. In women 35 and under, success rates are about the same for both IVF and mini-IVF procedures, but researchers say women in that age range still would benefit from using the mini-IVF because it is cheaper and has fewer side effects (it is said to not cause pregnant-like symptoms, including mood swings, nausea or headaches that usually come with IVF treatments).

The Daily Mail reports that “one of the main reasons women in their 30s and 40s have problems conceiving either naturally or with IVF is that they do not produce enough healthy eggs capable of developing into an embryo, and eventually into a fetus.” Well, high-dose fertility drugs used in conventional IVF actually worsen this problem. They increase a woman’s egg production, but they also appear to change the DNA of the eggs, which can sometimes leave them defective. The mini-IVF does not.

While more research may need to be done in this area, all signs are pointing to the mini-IVF being a better alternative for women seeking fertility help.

TELL US: Do you think the mini-IVF sounds too good to be true? Or is it about time researchers found a cheaper, easier, more effective alternative to the standard IVF procedure?

Image of woman getting an ultrasound courtesy of Shutterstock.

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